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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 April 2006, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
Turner painting sets sale record
The masterpiece is based on a series of watercolours Turner painted in 1840

A painting by JMW Turner has set a new record auction price for a British artist, selling for $35.8m (20.5m) at auction in New York.

The view of Venice, called Giudecca, La Donna della Salute and San Giorgio, smashed the previous record.

That was held by John Constable's painting The Lock, which sold for $21.2m (12.1m) in 1990.

The painting went under the hammer at $32m (18.3m). The final sum includes an auction house commission of 12%.

'Uplifting' picture

Nicholas Hall, international director of old master paintings at Christie's, said it was "a phenomenal masterpiece".

The previous world record for a Turner was 5.5m paid in London for Seascape, Folkestone in 1984.

The Venice Turner is one of three oil paintings produced by the artist for the Royal Academy of Arts Exhibition of 1841.

It is based on a series of watercolours he painted during a visit to the Italian city the previous year.

The painting was sold by New York missionary the St Francis of Assisi Foundation. A private collector donated the painting to the organisation in 1992.

The Turner was bought from the 1841 Exhibition by Elhanan Bicknell for 250 guineas (262.50), before being sold at Christie's in 1863 for 1,650 guineas (1,732.50).

In 1897, the painting returned to the auction house and went under the hammer for 6,800 guineas (7,140) to Sir Donald Currie.

His grandson sold it at auction in 1959 for an undisclosed sum and it was next sold in 1992 to a private collector, who in turn donated it to the St Francis of Assisi Foundation.

Watch the bidding for the Turner painting

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